Showing posts from February 17, 2008

Welcome, RVCBard

Welcome to the theatrosphere, RVCBard, who writes the blog "Love's Labours Lost." RVCBard, "a black woman educated at an HBCU," uses her blog as a place for discussion by raising questions. Good stuff -- check it out.

Model: Two Examples of "And Then"

From the Community Arts Network website (
"Arlene Goldbard, sometimes called the Godmother of community arts, is offering an interesting workshop in Oakland, Calif. , this spring. Here's her description:

The Refresher Course, a five-part workshop series designed to refresh your vision, values and emotional vigor. I'm offering The Refresher Course every other Tuesday evening from 7-9 pm starting March 25 (subsequent workshops will be April 8, April 22, May 6 and May 20, 2008). They will take place in a comfortable location near Lake Merritt in Oakland. The series fee is $250, payable by check or credit card. Each session focuses on an important aspect of self-understanding and self-development, using guided visualization, journaling and dialogue in a welcoming atmosphere that allows you to participate in exactly the way that’s most comfortable and helpful for you."Now, this is the type of thing that artists can do quite well, and there is a hunger…

Clancy on Steppenwolf Clones: Take-Away

For the most part, I find John Clancy's 2001 essay attacking "Steppenpups" sort of objectionable and sort of admirable at the same time. He's right: young imitators are never as good as the original. I'd love to read a similar essay that attacks much of NYC's superficial "say-it-fast-say-it-loud-say-it-without-a-pause-and-without-a-thought" style that echoes the bad old days of the 1920s. Maybe he can write that in the future (or maybe he's already written it and can provide a link).

That said, for me the money quote is this:

"If you want to create the next Steppenwolf Theatre, then do what they did. Commit to ten years with the same core of people and spend every night arguing and agreeing and thrashing around in a basement somewhere until you have your own aesthetic and vision to share."No THAT is pure, unadulterated truth, tribal theatre folks. Print it out and tape it to your bathroom mirror so you see it every morning

On Travis Bedard and Holarchies

Travis Bedard at "Midnight Honesty at Noon" muses about how theatre failed America from "The Left of the Revolution." The post overall is well worth reading in its entirety, and I urge you all to do so -- I have read it a couple of times!

I'd like to focus for a few paragraphs on a couple sentences Travis writes midway through the article: "Our entire universe as understood is indeed nothing but nested taxonomies. Our quarrels are from different branches of the organizational tree."

The novelist, playwright, and essayist Arthur Koestler coined the word "holon" to describe this idea of a nested structure. It, in turn, serves as one of the primary organizing principles of Ken Wilber's thought (see A Brief History of Everything and The Eye of Spirit: An Integral Vision for a World Gone Slightly Mad). I think Wilber most clearly illustrates this concept in terms of language: a single letter is complete in and of itself, AND it is part of a lar…

Model: Where to Locate Your Tribe

The first three posts (Fear of Falling Off the Map, Get Yourself a Tribe, and And Then) along with the overall statement of philosophy (Empowerment) in this continuing series designed to describe a possible new model for a regional, resident theatre were fairly easy to write. This post, however, requires a leap of faith both for me and for my readers. I have no authorities to quote, no examples to point to, no data to give me support. I am operating on a combination of conjecture and common sense (by which I mean, I suppose, the most unsophisticated form of critical thinking). If these ideas seem foreign to you, jarring, or as Tevye says, "Unthinkable! Absurd!" -- you're not alone. As my friend and mentor Cal Pritner would say, turn up your crap detector to its highest setting. If you have data or experience that supports or contradicts what I am saying, don't be afraid to share it. However, don't feel compelled to tell me that this just isn't for you; if it…

Foundational Principle: Daniel Quinn

From Daniel Quinn's deceptively simple and inspiring Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure:

The river I mentioned earlier is the river of vision. Our culture's river of vision is carrying us toward catastrophe. Sticks planted in the mud may impede the flow of the river, but we don't need to impede its flow, we need to divert it into an entirely new channel. If our culture's river of vision ever begins to carry us away from catastrophe and into a sustainable future, then programs will be superfluous. When the river's flowing where you want it to flow, you don't plant sticks to impede it.

Old minds think: How do we stop these bad things from happening?
New minds think: How do we make things the way we want them to be?

No Programs at all?

Programs make it possible to look busy and purposeful while failing. If programs actually did the things people expect them to do, then human society would be heaven: law enforcement would work, our justice systems …

Tagged: Page 123

The nice people at "Long Live the Village Green" tagged me with a meme:

I. You have to look up page 123 in the nearest book around you.
II. Look for the fifth sentence.
III. Then post the three sentences that follow that fifth sentence on page 123.
IV. And then tag five people, just like you were tagged.

The book nearest to me is Nonviolent Communication" A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg, which I a reading for a campus reading group through the Center for Teaching and Learning. The sentences are as follows:

"'No, I wasn't enjoying the conversation; in fact, I was totally bored with it.' At the time, I was surprised to hear his response because he had been the one doing most of the talking! Now I am no longer surprised: I have since discovered that co0nversations that are lifeless for the listener are equally so for the speaker."Yikes! When you write a blog and those are the sentences the universe plucks out for you, it makes you stop and think…

Tribal Theatre Resource Website

Dear Readers -- I don't know if you feel this way, but one of the problems with blogs is that posts get buried in the archives and it is hard to find them. If you arrive late on the scene and want to catch up on certain ideas of a blogger, it can take forever to weave back through every chronological post looking for key words. Sure, you can use the tags, and that helps, but there may be tags associated with a topic that aren't on every post. Anyway...

I've decided to create a Theatre Tribe Resource Page that offers links to the most relevant posts on that topic here at Theatre Ideas. As I continue to add to it, I hope there will also be links to other on-line articles and websites that would be of interest.

I have set it up as a wiki, so if you would like to add something to the wiki, there will be a link that will describe how.

The URL is

I hope some of you find this useful!

A Question

Taking a page from Isaac's Parabasis book, here is a question: what do you think would happen to the American theatre, and the American theatre audience, if all of the major funding sources in America decided they would not grant money to any regional theatre whose season contained more than 25% plays that were older than 10 years old?

How Others See Us

Don Hall at "An Angry White Guy in Chicago" this morning has characterized theatre people as a "Community of Fringe Dwellers" similar to Hot Dog J. Frank - The Willy Wonka of Meat... He concludes: "We're all a bunch of traveling monkeys looking for approval from the Great and Powerful Corporate Mentality. Now, I'm not really trying to make some Big Point here. I just think with all the chest-thumping going on about a new model to work under, it is helpful to have an understanding of what we look and sound like to the vast majority of the population."

What a buzz kill! *L*

OK, first let's look at Don's example: Hot Dog J. Frank - The Willy Wonka of Meat. Sure, his enthusiasm for hot dogs may seem a bit over the top -- most of us do not share his particular passion. However, I would also say that his enthusiasm is contagious, and I'll bet that after about 15 mins with Mr. Frank, you'd want to have a hot dog. I did after I watched the v…

Meet Sarah McL

Sarah McL at "Resources for Emerging Arts Leaders" has a nice post on "The Regional Rebellion," asking whether, historically, we are about do for a movement in reaction to the regional theatre movement, not unlike Off-Broadway was born as a reaction to Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway as a reaction to Off-Broadway. I agree with her -- we are due. My only hope is that whatever name it receives, it doesn't reference the previous paradigm like OB and OOB did. I think we need a clean break. Anyway, give Sarah a read, and connect to the links on this post as well.